Instagram: @alex__swanson

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Robbie Kegel

Gato Heroi, Creme, Robin Kegel. This man shapes under many names, has shaped countless number of weird ass boards, and has influenced the longboard world greatly. His shop is located on 1653 Superior Ave. in Costa Mesa. I stopped by a couple times last summer; that guy never stops moving. He is constantly coming up with new radical ideas that change and redefine what it means to surf singlefins. I bought my 9'7 Playdate from Thalia St. Surf shop, and its one of the funkiest, toughest, most fun boards I've ever ridden. Gato Heroi boards are thinner, pointier, and more colorful than most longboards. Al Knost has been riding for them on and off for quite some time now. I purchased a 5'7 Hull called the 1653 from Robbie in his shop last July and it has been the most difficult board to ride. It requires a certain type of wave; Robbie suggested Wedge or macking River Jetties in between Huntington and Newport. I have yet to stop by his shop this year, but it'll be soon. Cant wait to see what he has this time...

Saturday, March 28, 2009



Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled a great and glorious nation. Favourite amongst his subjects was the court painter of whom he was very proud. Everybody agreed this wizzened old man painted the greatest pictures in the whole kingdom and the king would spend hours each day gazing at them in wonder.

However, one day a dirty and dishevelled stranger presented himself at the court claiming that in fact he was the greatest painter in the land. The indignant king decreed a competition would be held between the two artists, confident it would teach the vagabond an embarrassing lesson. Within a month they were both to produce a masterpiece that would out do the other.

After thirty days of working feverishly day and night, both artists were ready. They placed their paintings, each hidden by a cloth, on easels in the great hall of the castle. As a large crowd gathered, the king ordered the cloth to be pulled first from the court artists easel. Everyone gasped as before them was revealed a wonderful oil painting of a table set with a feast. At its centre was an ornate silver bowl full of exotic fruits glistening moistly in the dawn light. As the crowd gazed admiringly, a sparrow perched high up on the rafters of the hall swooped down and hungrily tried to snatch one of the grapes from the painted bowl only to hit the canvas and fall down dead with shock at the feet of the king.

'Aha!' exclaimed the king. 'My artist has produced a painting so wonderful it has fooled Nature herself, surely you must agree that he is the greatest painter who ever is the greatest painter who ever lived!' But the vagabond said nothing and stared solemnly at his feet. 'Now, pull the blanket and let us see what you have for us,' cried the king. But the tramp remained motionless and said nothing. Growing impatient, the king stepped forward and reached out to grab the blanket only to freeze in horror at the last moment.

'You see,' said the tramp quietly, 'there is no blanket covering the painting. This is actually just a painting of a cloth covering a painting. And whereas your famous artist is content to fool Nature, I've made the king of the whole country look like a bit of a twat'. 

Critical Mass

So every last Friday of each month, about 2,000+ San Diego bikers meet together at Balboa Park at the center of Downtown to ride together to support bike laws in San Diego in an event called Critical Mass. I started going back in August last year and have taken my fixie to each one. This last one, I misplaced my bike and couldnt find it, so i borrowed a beach cruiser. About 10 minutes into the ride, my chain snapped, I just got to coast along as 2,000 of my best friends biked past me. I happened to find my fixie later that night, so you can be sure that I'll be there riding with all those guys next Mass. If you ever want to join, it starts promptly at 8:00 pm on the last Friday of each month, we ride about 30 something miles for a couple hours before everyone calls it quits. Make an event out of the night!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Happiness is underappreciated. Happiness is everywhere, we just need to look for it. We are all trying to be happy in some sort of way, so we all look for it in different places. For some of us its in sports, or school, or relationships. Whatever your way of finding happiness, go for it. Nothing can buy true happiness, while money is great, being truly happy with yourself is priceless. So next time you are unequivocally happy, take a step back, a deep breath, and enjoy it, make it last.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Check 'em out:

to name a few

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009


My friend Trevor with his custom 9'5 Tanner Prairie log with an Orange fin

Support Your Local Shaper

The art of shaping surfboards has taken a hit by machine made boards. What was once a difficult skill that only few mastered, machines can create boards faster and seemingly stronger for cheaper prices. One California Day, a surf movie made last year, talks about how the art of shaping a surfboard is just that, an art. While many shortboards are shaped by machines, its perfectly fine, because they break easier and are turned over so quickly. Logs, Fish's, Egg's, Hulls, etc on the other hand require a thicker glass job and heavier foam which makes them last longer. Even though the supply of these hand crafted masterpieces has gone down, the demand has stayed the same and in some places, risen. Support for these guys is needed to keep the art of surfing alive. So the next time you're about to buy a log for $400 that was made in china and there are 10 other identical ones, take a step back and look for one that was hand crafted from the scratchy pieces of foam, held together by a beautiful glass job, and maybe if you're lucky, one that has been hand painted by an artist known as: the surfboard shaper.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Two photos that I've taken over the past couple months. They're both from disposable film cameras. The first one was 400 ISO and the the second ISO 200

The Woven Lines of Life

Strings, an infinite maze of them
Of every color, from darkest black to vibrant yellow
All unique, no two the same
Most run parallel, never touching

Others cross each other just once
Meeting for a moment, then proceeding
Ever on, into unfathomable oblivion

Some come to a convergence
And upon their crossing
Become tangled, intertwined
They spiral together for some time
Suddenly the dance of twine ends
The two lines part, change course
And head in their own direction once more
Never to touch again

Then, there are others
A scarce few, mind you
The two strings that never unravel 
They continue to twist around each other
Becoming ever more tightly bound
An endless dance of infinite beauty
Two lines, forever pirouetting, further into convolution
Then, at a point, the two become one
Separate strings becoming one braid
Never to be unraveled, never to be lost
Eternally spinning together, wrapping tighter, dancing into the future.

Written by my good friend Denny Moody on January 15th, 2009.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Surf Mats

(Greenough on his mat)
It looks as though Surf Mats are gonna be the up and coming item to have this summer. Surfing looks like its looking at the past in order to move forward; for example, Alaias, Surf Mats, Logs. 2006 World Longboard Champion, Schuyler McFerran has a great article on Surfline, giving 10 really good reasons why we should all buy one. "...Most importantly, because we all need to take ourselves less seriously." The cool thing about these surf mats is that they've been around for a while. George Greenough used one in the 70's to take photos. They're also super cheap. Priced at around $20-30, you can easily purchase one without making a dent in your wallet.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Photo: Almond (My bud Trevor with his Almond)
So there's this surf company that seems to be taking Newport by storm. The name of this "little" company is Almond. Started by the genuinely nice Dave Allee and Jeremy Searcy, they have seem to found yet another niche in the surf industry. 
They started making a couple t-shirts and custom boards- logs, fishes, and eggs. And just as of a month ago, opened a shop on 367 Newport Blvd. I've had the privilege to have surfed with Dave a couple times. He's a wonderful guy with a great style that you don't see much of anymore. I have yet to pick up one of his boards, but you can be sure that it will be soon. I hope for the very best for Dave and Almond.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Perfect Ride

There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting a good ride out of a wave.

We have all felt that unequivocal happiness of having everything click and you get a sensational ride. For all the bad times: crowds, coldness, falls. That one special one you get every once in a while makes it all worth it. Feeling the power of the wave beneath your board is a connection that you rarely get.

            Seeing that little blip on the horizon puts a leap in your heart, you hope that no one else saw it as you slowly start paddling out to put yourself in line for it. Your heart starts pumping faster as the wave gets bigger, you spin around and quickly start paddling to catch this pearl. Your heart jumps to your throat when you start dropping in, you bottom turn and look down the line to see that this is going to be long, special ride. With that first top turn you feel the exhilaration running through your system; it’s just you and the wave, no other worries or fears in mind. All of your problems are left on the beach; the ocean requires your concentration. Walking up to the nose asks that you know your board and the wave, you take a couple steps and time slows down. A couple steps back, another turn or two, and your ride is over. Within a period of 15 maybe 30 seconds, you have been genuinely happy. Its what keeps you coming back, its what keeps the stoke alive.

Japanese Suits

It seems like Japanese material wetsuits are all the rage these days. Gato Heroi is making them, Capt. Fin Company is making the Sea Vessel, Nine Plus has been around, Almond is coming out with a new line, and so on. So i picked up a Joel Tudor/Amsterdam top for $50, I have yet to take it for a test drive, but from trying it on, it feels more flexible than any other top i've had. Japanese material wetsuits are known to be warmer, stretchier than American suits, but are a little more fragile. Will report back on results.
Band of the week: Say Hi.
"The average OC hipster is likely to digest a minimum of five to 10 nauseatingly ambiguous, animal-inspired band names each month. But despite the endless trail of jangly guitar solos, buckskin vests and bohemian swagger, sometimes even the most avid showgoers are left wanting. Maybe that’s because so few of these bands manage to stretch their sound beyond the realm of calculated carbon copies—diet versions of finer music eras gone by."
Photo courtesy of R. Cooper


Mollie and the sister at Kalamas
Pali lookout point drive
On location in Oahu
Just starting on this whole blog stuff. Might as well hop on the bandwagon now. I log, ride fixed, and bodysurf. I'll be posting stuff and cool photos